We were asked to help on a special assignment today. Our Battalion called and asked us to assist with some station cleaning. The kicker was that it wasn’t our station …. it’s actually not an operating fire station at all.
It was our now closed “historic” Station #1.
Built in 1907, it lasted 100 years before being being shut down in 2007. It was closed along with Station #3 and the two consolidated into our new headquarters Station #1 (aka… “The Big Show”).
The closings became a huge battle between our members and administration. A lot of our Department’s history came from within those walls. It was a house full of TRADITION, PRIDE, HONOR, RESPECT and BROTHERHOOD. It the house my dad retired from. It was a bitter fight and there are plenty of mixed emotions that linger still today. For many, the closing of those doors signaled the end of an era for the Roanoke Fire Department.
Learn more about Roanoke’s Historic Station #1 HERE and HERE
They wouldn’t allow us (the members .. IAFF Local-1132) to have it. Promises were made and not kept. They do allow us to park our antique fire truck there and the Department houses a couple reserve pieces there as well. They’ve allowed the Police Department to occupy an office up stairs and even put two horse stalls (for the mounted patrol) down in the bay. The mounted patrol has since been disbanded (but the stalls remain). They also allow city workers access into the station to eat, use the restroom, hide, nap or who knows what. That’s part of the problem. With no history or ties to the building, they don’t even bother to clean up behind themselves.
Anyway, we met Battalion Chief Adkins and the members from Station #2 down there to do a bit of house keeping today. It looked BAD but the guys made quick work of it.
Upstairs was swept and mopped. The bays were washed out. All the trash collected and taken out and we even polished the brass.
It looked 100 times better after about 2 hours of work but could have stood much more. I’m glad none of our retired members seen it in the shape we found it…. it would have been embarrassing.
There were a lot of young members on the detail today. Young as in they weren’t even here when the station was open or never had the honor and privilege of running out of it. I think it was a good experience for them.
They got to hear some of us older guys telling stories from her “glory days”. They got to see and hear first hand some of the history and tradition of their Department.
Randy got to polish his first brass pole. There aren’t many members left in our Department who can say they polished brass at station #1.
Another “newer member”, Ronnie Mitchel ( from #2-C ) got to sweep and mop the front stair case. A wooden, spiral staircase. I could picture in my mind now retired member Jimmy Jennings doing it. It was one of Jimmy’s “pet peeves” and he took a lot of pride in assuring those steps were spotless.
The station has 2 spiral staircases leading upstairs. Older houses had spiral stairs to keep the horses from finding their way upstairs in the event they got loose.
Grooved floors from the days of horses. Wooden floors and lockers (with brass knobs) in an open bunk room. Deep sky lights. Stamped tin ceilings….. she was a sight to see.
Thanks to Chief Adkins for seeing the need and getting it done. Thanks as well to my boys, Captain Graham and the members of Station #2-C for a job well done!
So, we also had a visitor today. A ride-a-long.
Michael Whiteaker from Bristol, Tn. made his way up for a visit and ride.
Michael’s dad is a retired Deputy Chief ( with 33 years of service) with the Bristol (Tennessee) Fire Department. Michael plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and is thinking of applying here to do so. He scored well in Bristol’s process but is currently working in their Police Department. Yea … I let a cop do a ride along but not before I explained to him that with a little extra effort and a few more points on the test … he could have been a fireman. LOL.
Learn more about the Bristol, Tennessee Fire Department HERE
All kidding aside, Michael scored 2nd in Bristol and seems like a great guy. We took him out to our regional training center and introduced him to the training chiefs of all 3 jurisdictions ( Roanoke City, Roanoke County and the City of Salem). He went with us to Station #1 and even caught a few runs (nothing to write home about). I hope he enjoyed the visit as much as we enjoyed having him.
Moving on, we are still getting ready for FDIC. It’s just around the corner and will be here before you know it. Once again, Rhett and I will be there with Zach Green and the MN8-FoxFire Team. We will be attending the Fools Bash, The IAFF party, the NFFF Stop, Drop and Rock and Roll event, the Fire/EMS Blog Meet Up and many more events. We want to meet YOU while we’re there. The easiest way to catch up with us is to come to the booth.
Meet us at FDIC 2012 in the MN8-FoxFire Booth #3026
Speaking of Rhett …. he’s in Aruba without his computer and his phone turned off. Of course he did manage to post a single pic on Face Book to rub it in.
I say “rub it in” because once again, he is traveling without me. Yea…. he left me here to take care of everything else while he’s laying on some far off exotic beach. I’ve been worried sick!
So many things could happen on a trip like this….
He can’t even swim! Good thing I packed his water wings.
He made 100 excuses for why I couldn’t go.
He even said that he didn’t think I’d “fit in” over there …. you know … wearing my fire boots around all the time and such.
Can you believe that?? ME … NOT fitting in somewhere?
He didn’t care that I was willing to leave my regular footwear behind for something a little me fitting of a beach environment. When I showed him my new boots, he laughed… HE LAUGHED!
Well, despite this leather exterior … deep down … I do have feelings and I don’t mind telling you that they’re hurt.
LMAO … you folks stay SAFE and in House! I’ll be back on Saturday.